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November 16, 2021

Chairwoman Johnson Opening Statement for Full Committee Markup of H.R. 5781, H.R. 1437, and H.R. 5324

(Washington, DC) – Today, House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology is marking up H.R. 5781, the “National Wildland Fire Risk Reduction Program Act;” H.R. 1437, the “Providing Research and Estimates of Changes in Precipitation (PRECIP) Act;” and H.R. 5324, the “NOAA Weather Radio Modernization Act of 2021.”

Chairwoman Eddie Bernice Johnson’s (D-TX) opening statement for the record is below.

I want to welcome everyone this morning to our markup of three bills that address critical issues facing our nation.

First, we will consider H.R. 5781, the National Wildland Fire Risk Reduction Program Act. I want to thank Representative Lofgren for introducing this commonsense bill. I also want to thank our colleagues Representatives Bonamici, McNerney, and Perlmutter for joining Representative Lofgren in introducing this bill. This bill builds on the strength of our federal science agencies to better address the growing threat of wildland fires across our country. Our cutting-edge federal research and operational programs provide crucial support to first-responders. These first-responders are on the frontlines battling the intense wildland fires in what has become a seemingly year-round fire season.

H.R. 5781 will strengthen federal coordination of research and operational efforts across multiple science agencies. The legislation will support a more efficient and effective whole-of-government response to reducing wildland fire risk through federal coordination and collaboration. This is a good bill, and I am proud to co-sponsor it.

Next, we will consider bipartisan legislation introduced by Environment Subcommittee Chairwoman Sherrill. H.R. 1437, the PRECIP Act. I am proud to co-sponsor this bill, along with Full Committee Ranking Member Lucas, and Environment Subcommittee Ranking Member Bice. I appreciate Chairwoman Sherrill’s leadership on this Committee on issues related to heavy precipitation and flooding. These types of extreme weather events are becoming more intense due to climate change and impacting communities across the country. We saw the effects in Texas during Hurricane Harvey in 2017. And unfortunately, we saw the deadly effects of heavy precipitation earlier this year due to Hurricane Ida. Despite making landfall on the Gulf Coast, Ida dumped water all the way up to New York City and left a path of devastation in its wake. NOAA has a responsibility to provide the most accurate and up-to date precipitation data. The updates that are authorized in this bill will be critical to preparing our cities and communities for future extreme weather.

Last, we will consider another bipartisan bill led by our Environment Subcommittee Ranking Member Bice and cosponsored by Chairwoman Sherrill. The NOAA Weather Radio Modernization Act would help to upgrade and modernize NOAA Weather Radio. NOAA Weather Radio provides critical weather information 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Additionally, NOAA Weather Radio supports the broadcasting of public safety alerts and warnings for other natural hazards. This bill would provide authorization to update, modernize, and in some cases, expand the current NOAA Weather Radio Program. This modernization will improve NOAA’s current broadcast delivery and help this critical program better reach underserved communities.

I want to thank Members for their interest in these bills, and I look forward to a productive markup.